The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone


Brad Stone

  ecommerce, product, venture capital

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Don’t think about tomorrow, think about a decade from now

1.Understand the limitations but kept your principles
After learning about the Internet, an idea of ‘The Everything Store’ began to form within Bezos. He understood that he wouldn’t be able to commence everything at such a large scale from the start. So he decided to focus on selling books. But he made sure it was the biggest book store and would offer the best book-buying experience for customers.

2.Less communication, the better
Bezos believes that communication should be seen as a flaw. Instead, leadership should be planning ways to communicate less. It would enable workers to understand their requirements naturally without prompt.
He went to the extent of banning PPT presentations. He insisted that employees should write down their pitch when introducing new ideas.

Bezos always leaves one chair empty in every meeting. The chair represents the customer. Till today, Amazon strives to optimize its customer experience relentlessly. Frugality is the principle for Amazon and they focus on cutting costs in every conceivable way. This helps pull in customers. They are known for discounted prices, even when they incur losses. This increased the customer base and was a long-term strategy to grow the business.

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Notes from the Amazon Journey

Looked at the rapid growth of internet and asked what all will get disrupted by this. Came up with many ideas and DE Shaw actually launched a few.

Couldn't create an Everything store on day 1 so had to choose a product category. Chose books.

Kept generating more orders than they could service. Increasing backlog was ok rather than saying no to business.

Built a culture focused on hardwork early on..

VC impressed by energy and tech skills of founder. Showed real time report.

Bezos insisted on Doerr taking a board seat and not some junior member from the VC.

Get big fast... Scale gets advantage like better margins. Whoever build lead first would also retain it. The VC round triggered this thinking.

Rufus dog of early employees. Belief that Rufus needs to bless new projects

Similarities.. the code written to recommend books basis past purchases made. Showed immediate results. Great advantage of ecommerce. Brick n mortar can never truly understand the customer and customize for them.

Hire employees who have disregard for the usual way of doing business .

Toys category template for the platform business. Got upfront cash. Ran the ecomm for AOL.

In short term stock market is a voting machine. In long term it is a weighing machine.

Customer obsession. Harry Potter book at 40% discount same day. Many PR stories.

Single product page. Unlike ebay. Created the most comprehensive product catalog online. list sellers on the same page alongside their own inventory. The pages that customers flock to. Changed the way Amazon approached marketplace model.

Bezos was clear in 2000 that by the time they get to 20Bn in sales, half should come from selling others products. Via fees earned on its infrastructure.

Did not care about upsetting everyone else in the industry.

Learn from everyone. Costco. Sam Walton.
Jim Collins explained the flywheel.. kept it a secret. Influence any part of the flywheel to build growth.

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